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Handbags, gladrags and pencils

Betsan Powys | 23:29 UK time, Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Tomorrow morning there will be children to take to school, shopping to be done, parents to be looked after, work to be sorted. You may vote, you may not. You may vote thoughtfully, you may vote with your gut instinct, you may not vote at all.

Some of you won't care an awful lot who gets elected. Some of you will be up until the early hours, unable to sleep until you find out who is in and who is out.

This blog entry is unashamedly aimed at the latter lot: a check-list for Welsh anoraks to enjoy come the early hours of Friday morning. See you there.

Blaenau Gwent: Keep an eye out for suspended Labour big names: will they be returned regardless? Will the various factions in BG bury the hatchet long enough to form a coalition, if the maths allows it? Might that mean bad headlines for Labour come Friday but be a good thing for them in the long term?

Newport: Can the Liberal Democrats oust Labour leader Bob Bright in Ringland? There are whispers. If they can - big if - then that is what officially counts as "a scalp". Bear in mind that the death of two candidates in Newport means two wards - six seats - won't be sorted out until mid June. A hung council? Boy would that hurt Labour.

Caerphilly: Keep an eye out for the husband and wife factor: the independent Etheridge couple and Ron and Lynne. If Plaid make a comeback and do well tomorrow, on what are you betting? A Labour loss, a Plaid gain, a Labour/Independent deal or a ... Labour/Plaid coalition? Is Don Touhig sitting down?

The Vale of Glamorgan: what will prove to be the biggest scrap - Labour v Tories or a Tory gain leading to a Jeff James v Gordon Kemp contest?

Bridgend: Can the Lib Dems make the coalition stick? Labour's best chance of a return to some sort of power surely.

Swansea: Labour leader Dave Phillips goes to bed tonight knowing there are another 19 candidates in his ward. Mark it. Are Labour so keen to come back in Swansea that they'll talk to Plaid? Would Plaid really respond?

Carmarthenshire: Best bet? Independent/Labour hold. But if you were Labourites here, would you consider striking a deal with Plaid? You'd think long and hard before bargaining with the 'bloodsuckers' but ... Plaid have gone online, have campaigned hard, have done well in the past. Just take note.

Pembrokeshire: Conservative Independents are coming clean and standing as Conservatives. They must expect to do well. However the independent controlled "Kremlin on the Cleddau" - wonderful phrase, not mine - will remain but Labour MP Nick Ainger - watch out.

RCT: What did I say? Leighton Andrews is beaming with good reason but watch out for Treherbert.

Gwynedd: There may well be scalps taken but I just can't see as how it'll make a big difference to parents who send their children to schools in Gwynedd.

Conwy: NOC city.

Flintshire: Labour's only majority held council outside South Wales. Their new leader will go to bed tonight thinking over how to strike a deal with the independents, if he must. Will he have to use that rehearsed speech?

Wrexham: Chapel-going voters, football-supporting voters, former Forward Wales voters ... can Aled Roberts, Local Government Politician of the Year and Lib Dem leader deliver Wrexham to the Lib Dems again? It's a big ask.

Powys: How very dare you! There are independents who are actually having to face a contest this time! Who'll form a group with whom after the votes are counted?

Bring your pencils and see you Friday morning.


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  • 1. At 08:07am on 01 May 2008, Adam Johns wrote:

    What about Cardiff?

    Both the Labour leader (John Sheppard, Llandaff) and Deputy Leader (Sophie Howe, Whitchurch) are looking seriously vulnerable and Labour could fall to 3rd place in terms of seats.

    The Heath ward, comprising Heath and Birchgrove, is one to keep an eye on too. It was won convincingly by the LibDems in 2004 but is in play this time. It is where the 2007 Cardiff North Assembly Election was won for Jonathan Morgan and the Tories look like rocketing from 21% poll in 2004 to well over 40% this time. It could be the site of one of the few LibDem losses in Cardiff.

    And Cyncoed, because you never know.

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  • 2. At 1:22pm on 01 May 2008, CymroCoch wrote:

    One of the most serious issue that needs tackling in local government is the power of council officials. These people overturn decisions made through a democratic vote by elected councilors.

    This undermines democracy, and any form of power like this should be removed from these people immediately.

    Council officials are public servants, they are there to serve the people, to act upon the democratic wishes of the people represented by local councilors. Not to act on the wishes of other public servants be they from Cardiff or London.

    There is only one word to describe anything that undermines democracy, and that is fascism.

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  • 3. At 3:15pm on 01 May 2008, LyndonApGwynfryn wrote:

    Hmm, the RCT Labour people I've spoken to have been quite pessimistic, perhaps Leighton doesn't know what he's talking about. It would hardly be the first time.

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  • 4. At 07:49am on 05 May 2008, MontgomeryshireMan wrote:

    But Powys was very daring. Early in the Montgomeryshire count Lembit Opik said "the art of democracy is painted by the public and we don't know what the picture's going to look like yet". Two hours later the Conservatives had 9 seats. The victorious Conservative candidate for independent (Liberal) stalwart Llanfyllin, Peter Lewis, declared, "it's time for people to show their true colours." Glyn Davies turned into Neil Armstrong: "it's a big step and a first step", he said. By the end the whole of northern Montgomeryshire had turned blue. And Mr Opik was nowhere to be seen.

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